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Care providers share best practice in crisis management

In the spring, the national effort focused on preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and increasing capacity in the form of new Nightingale hospitals.1 In the shadows, the adult care sector geared up for their own battle to protect the elderly and vulnerable against the virus. By August, 40% of COVID-19 related deaths were accounted for by care home residents.2 Yet social care workers battled on, often making huge personal sacrifices and going the extra mile to deliver care in their communities.

The pandemic has highlighted the invaluable role social care professionals play every day, in every community.3 Recently, we decided to interview some of our care clients about their experiences of the pandemic since March. We wanted to shine a light on those homes, agencies, and carers who have stepped up to the challenge and done their very best in the face of the very worst. We were also interested in the decisions they made, the actions they took, and the lessons we can all learn about how to navigate successfully through a crisis.

Here are their top tips, with thanks to:

Cheryl Wood Casicare
Alexandra Wortley Expertise LTD
Aymi Brown South West Care Homes
Carole Wood Mount Olivet Nursing Home & Kingsmount Residential Home
David Trowbridge Retain Healthcare

Be creative

  • Think outside the box when it comes to keeping your service users happy and engaged - don’t let the circumstances limit you.
  • Embrace positive change. Whether it’s new recipes or new ways to keep entertained – keep those in place.
  • Manage around adversity. Not everything will go to plan, particularly during a crisis. You have to be flexible, think on your feet, and do your best with what you’ve got.

Use your network

  • Make your relationships count. Work with your community and create arrangements with other providers to ensure coverage.
  • Put a support network in place. Engage everybody from the top of the organisation down to those on the front line. Ensure communication and nurture team spirit in your organisation.
  • Focus on supplier relationships. It’s important to understand some of the pressures that your suppliers are under. Keep in regular contact because knowing the challenges they face will help you be better prepared as well. 

Recognise and reward your people

  • Keep your team’s morale up. We did everything we could to keep our team motivated, from making badges that called out their status as carers during the pandemic to sending food parcels of ready-made dinners. Even the smallest touches can help keep people’s spirits up.
  • Recognise and reward. Every month, do something to show appreciation for your staff and carers. It could be public recognition, cards and gift bags, to boxes of biscuits or wine.
  • Make it clear that you value your people. Our carers and staff have been wonderful over the past six months, but I would have said that a year ago as well. We’ve always tried to recognise the incredible contribution they make, and I think that really shows when events like this happen. 

The impact that COVID-19 has had on the care community is nothing short of devastating. It has been a privilege to hear our clients talk about their experiences and how their teams have found the strength to keep going. As we face a second wave, we reflect on the lessons learnt first time around and place our confidence once again in our key workers.

To read their stories and more best practice advice download your copy of the eBook Caring Through COVID-19.

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